Let me start by saying this past Saturday’s tournament did NOT go as planned. Now that I have a bow setup for indoor shooting, and I’ve done some basic tuning with it and my arrows, I was really looking forward to the Bay State Indoor Open “Star FITA” Archery Championship to see how much my score would improve. I’ve always been someone who does better in actual competition than in practice, so while my scores have gone up in practice, I was excited to see how high they would go in an actual tournament.
I packed up everything the night before, so I wouldn’t be rushing around in the morning when we had to leave early. That morning R asked me to make sure I had the correct arrows packed (I’ve still been shooting a lot outdoors and had just recently re-fletched my indoor arrows). I knew I had them, but I checked my case anyways to make sure. We had a little trouble finding BayState Archery, but we had given ourselves plenty of time, so we still were one of the first to arrive. After signing in we began to set up our equipment. When I went to place my bow on the bow rack, I realized that I hadn’t put my sight on. I went back to my case to grab it when all of a sudden it hit me, I didn’t have my sight with me (it’s always in a hard case on top of everything else in my case). Before panicking, I went to my case and searched everywhere, hoping I had just accidentally put it somewhere different this time.
Unfortunately, that was not the case, and it was clear my sight was at home. At this point I started to freak out a little, but I tried to remain calm and think of my options. I knew one of the other compounders shooting the morning line, so I was hoping when she got there she might have an extra sight…then I remembered she was left-handed, so it wouldn’t do me any good. I got really upset with myself at this point and knew my day was over. There was really no way I could compete without a sight on my bow.
After a short pity party for myself, I kept racking my brain for solutions and suddenly it hit me. A trick they use at Hall’s, is to tape a match stick to the bow to use as a sight. It’s easy to move to the location you need and it is cheap. I told R my plan, knowing I just needed to find a match stick. He knew that should work (wouldn’t be near as accurate, but would work so I could at least shoot). I asked the shop owner if he had any match sticks, however, and he said he did not. R and I began to rack our brains for things either of us may have in our cases that would work to tape on and use like a matchstick. We finally decided the closest thing we had was his plunger button, so now all I needed was tape.
At this point, I again went to ask the owner for help. He asked what kind of tape I needed and when I explained what I was doing he offered me a basic recurve sight to use (had no compound sights in shop). I knew recurve sights were not meant to be used on compound bows. In fact, most have warning right on them that say you void the warranty by using them on a compound. This is due to the fact that there is considerably more force put on the sight on a compound bow, more vibration, etc. I told him thanks but just tape would be fine.
He continued to push my on taking the sight, as he really wanted to help me. I finally just said I didn’t want to take a sight he was selling and bust it by using it on a compound. He assured me it wouldn’t break, but if it did, I wouldn’t be liable. I finally agreed to use it, so now began the process of removing my current bracket and everything currently on my bow. R and I got the sight put on with just a couple of minutes to spare before official warmup began. We had no idea where the sight should be, so I knew I would have to quickly adjust with only 2 ends of practice before scoring.
First shot I was just praying would hit the target, but I was not that lucky. It wasn’t even close to the paper, so I frantically tried to make adjustments so I could take another shot. I ended up getting just 2 shots off this first end of practice, with neither being anywhere close. The sight was much different from what I was used to and required a lot more time to make adjustments, so R helped me between the two practice ends and I was ready for my final end of practice. I hit paper on the first shot and the second hit the target. Finally, my third shot hit yellow and I was feeling a sense of relief. At this point I figured I could make minor adjustments, but even without my scope I knew I could hit yellow and I was happy.
First end was a 26 (9,9,8), but I was mad because I moved the sight the wrong way causing the 8…the adjustment dial was backwards of mine and any I’ve previously used. I told myself to remember that today was just for practice and to work on good quality shots. My score wouldn’t be the same as usual, but I could make the best of the situation by just focusing on what I could change. Unfortunately, my next 2 shots were off the paper, with the third hitting the wrong bullseye. I was making adjustments, but things were acting crazy, and I couldn’t figure out what was going on. How could I go from hitting yellow/red to not hitting the target?
I shot one more end with 2 misses and a perfect 10, but I realized during this 3rd end what was happening. Because I was using a recurve sight, the sight was actually moving every shot I took from all the vibration. This left me with no reference each time I shot and no clue if I would even hit paper. At this point, I knew it was a waste of my time to continue shooting. I HATE giving up and feeling like a quitter, but I knew all I was going to do was frustrate myself (and those on targets around me).
We went down to score/pull our arrows and when I pulled my 10 out, it felt funny. I then realized I was missing all the weight bc the point was gone. We looked in and could see it stuck in the foam. All I could think was “really???” Not only could I not even shoot the event, but now I was loosing an expensive point too. I talked to the judge who said someone would go behind and look at the 1/2 time break. We marked the hole so we would know which one it was, and I had my fingers crossed.
Well the break came and a store employee went to look for my point, but he had no luck. Apparently they had nothing to stop the arrows behind the foam, and my point had since fallen out and wasn’t able to be found. I was pretty upset at this point, but I tried not to let it get to me. I saw a lot of compound arrows going through the targets (up to their fletchings or worse), and I began to realize that maybe it was a blessing in disguise that I had forgotten my sight and couldn’t shoot the full tournament, since I could have busted a lot of arrows in the process.
After everything was finished, I asked permission to go behind and look for my point. I was allowed back behind the foam, and I easily found my point which was a huge relief. Once we got home, however, I realized I had left my water bottle there (my favorite bright orange one), so I think it’s safe to say Saturday was just not my day! Lucky for me, it was easy to spot and when I called the owner was able to put it behind the counter and friends of ours were kind enough to pick it up for me when they were there on Sunday (Thank you Trahans!).
So as I have said 2013 is a year of learning, so what did I learn this weekend? Make sure you bring EVERYTHING you need with you to a tournament. I was lucky in the fact that this was a local tournament (just about an hour away) and one that R was shooting in also. I didn’t have air fare or hotel fees wasted, and I wasn’t representing the US in another country like I will be in a couple of weeks.